Friday, September 30, 2005

Mind Control

Clinical trials of the Braingate System by Cyberkinetics to help patients with "locked-in syndrome" secondary to stroke. Implanting a small sensor on the brain, patients are able to drive outputs by thought alone. Stroke patients with intact brain function will be able to control cursor movements with their brain only -- to control a computer with their mind.

Cyberkinetic founder John Donoghue was recognized by Popular Mechanics Magazine's 1st Annual Breakthrough Awards ceremony based on the system's potential to improve the lives of motor-impaired people.

For a demo of the system, clicke here.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pittsburgh Search Rolly-o

Rollyo is a new website that allows users to brew their own search engine by building a list of up to 25 sites. Then type what you're looking for and the site will search for your topic within the sites you choose. Great for creating a search engine around a certain topic. I created one on Pittsburgh: Sully's Pittsburgh Sandwich.

Here are the sights I included in no particular order -- any suggestions?

Less Than Seven Weeks To Go...


Thank you for supporting Gaylord Hospital and me!

With just under 7 weeks to go until the Harrisburg Marathon, the Stride Against Stroke campaign is off to a fantastic start.

So far 45 people from around the world have pledged donations. Pledges of support have been received from the Republic of Georgia, Italy, the UK, Japan, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, California, Colorado, Tennesee, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and New Mexico (and probably a couple of places I forgot). Along with financial support has come tons of moral support in the form of encouraging words, training tips and family stories from people who knew my grandfather, people whose loved ones have experienced stroke, neighbors, friends and even a couple of strangers. Ariba has agreed to match the donations of Ariba employees at the 50% level and 21 Aribians have pledged their support so far. As the pledges begin to roll in, I will update you on the amount that we've been able to raise.

To make your donation, just drop your check payable to Gaylord Hospital into the green business reply envelope (let me know if you need one), or mail your donation directly to:
Gaylord Hospital, Development Office, PO Box 400, Wallingford, CT 06492-9982. If you've already mailed your donation -- Thank you!

Many of you have visited Sully's Stuff to find out more about stroke and stroke rehabillitation programs and for updates on my training. Visitors to the site have learned how to spot a stroke and reduce their personal risk of stroke and read the rehabilitation stories of stroke victims like Cleo Hutton and Tedy Bruschi. The website is among the top returns for several stroke related blog searches and has been accessed from around the globe.

Finally, I want to update you on my training. This past Saturday, I completed the 1st of three 20-mile runs. With 7 weeks to go I am well positioned not just to finish, but to exceed my own expectations. This week I will surpass the 500 mile mark in training miles since I began building the base in April. If you see me in person often, you will not find it hard to believe that I've dropped about 25 pounds in that time.

If you haven't signed up to contribute, its not to late, just reply to me at I know we can get to more than 100 donors by November 13!

When I'm on mile 13 of 20 or taking the 1st step before the crack of dawn or on a rainy day...your generosity helps me take the next step. Thank you for your support.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Virtual Stroke Rehabilitation

A cross-functional team of researchers from the University of Ulster's Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Institute and School of Computing and Information Engineering have won a Northern Ireland Healthcare Award for their work using virtual reality to help stroke patients regain the use of their upper limbs.

The program's focus on the upper limbs is unique -- 30-66% of stroke survivors never regain the use of their affected arm. Most rehabilitation programs focus on restoring mobility. The virtual reality system provides a low cost, highly stimulative environment for people to do the highly repetitive excercises on their own, receiving stimulation and feedback from the device, a visor/helmet and glove.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Women Slighted In Stroke Follow-up

A puzzling fact: although the stroke rate is lower among women than man, 62% of all stroke related deaths in the US are women. Why? A recent study suggests that it may be because of differences in diagnostic testing of stroke victims following an initial stroke.

In a study led by Melinda A. Smith Cox, M.P.H. at the University of Michigan, research found that wome who suffer strokes are less likely to receive follow up diagnostic tests. Following a stroke, women are:
  • 43% less likely to have a cartoid artery exam
  • 36% less likely to have an echocardiogram

Source: medpage today: Teaching Brief: Female Stroke Patients Slighted In Follow-up Studies, by Katrina Woznicki

Buy This Hammer

Every once in a while, a company has the capablity of doing something that shows they're made up of human beings -- compassionate, off-beat, creative and fun. I bring you operation hammer.

My company Ariba is raising hammers to help hurricane victims rebuild. Not just any hammer -- NEW Stanley Fat Max 16 or 20 ounce hammers. The hammers are a tool for rebuilding. Not a dollar to be sliced and diced, processed and overheaded. A hammer that can be swung to hit a nail to connect a board to rebuild a home, a business, a life.

We are inviting friends and family to participate, just click here for information on how you can participate in Operation Hammer.

Monday, September 26, 2005

10,000 Yen In The Mail Today

When GSully came to visit me in my home office today, she brought me a letter from Japan. Inside the letter was a good luck note and a 10,000 Yen note from a colleague in Japan, a donation to the Stride Against Stroke campaign. Checking accounts are uncommon in Japan where savings rates are very high and most bills are paid by EFT.

This is the first time that I have had a yen note in my posession. Three observations on the 10,000 yen note.

1. The 10,000 Yen note is Japan's highest denomination and is from a new set of currency released on November 1, 2004. It includes a number of interesting security features, including a watermark portrait that can only be viewed when the bill is held up to the light.
2. The letter was mailed on September 21 and arrived today, traveling more than 6,600 miles in less than a week.
3. The bill pictures Fukuzawa Yukichi, a 19th century educator.

Thank you for this very cool donation.

Is your personality conducive to stroke? Take the test.

In the October 3 issue of Newsweek, Michael Craig Miller, M.D. writes this article about research on "Type D" personalities. Type D personalities combine "high 'negative affectivity' (worry, irratibility, gloom) and "social inhibition" (reticence, lack of self-assurance).

While the work of psychologist Johan Denollet is in its early stages, the results are worth thinking about:

"...Denollet's group administered an earlier version of the test to 300 people in a cardiac-rehabilitation program in Antwerp. Within 10 years, 27 percent of the Type-D patients had died -- mostly of heart disease or stroke -- compared to 7 percent of the others."

The article point out that being Type-D is not a mental illness, and that many people with these personality traits live happy, healthy lives.

To see if you are a Type-D, take an abbreviated version of Dr. Denollet's 14 question DS14 test here.

Mayor of dry town arrested outside Heinz Field

With 130 municipalities in Allegheny County, it really is just a matter of time before one of its elected officials does something to inspire us to acheive the greatness within all of us.

Yesterday, Raymond Heller, Mayor of the "dry" suburban Municipality of Forest Hills visited the drinking town with a football problem, and like someone at their first kegger in the woods got a little rowdy. This is just the type of incident that reassures residents of dry municipalities that they are doing the right thing.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Running Update: 49 days to go..

I saw Pittsburgh yesterday. I passed Henry Clay Frick's house, Clayton on Penn Avenue. I did a quarter turn on Penn Circle and passed mansions along Highland Avenue. I lapped the reservoir in Highland Park and saw midget football at Peabody High School. I saw shopkeepers opening the shops on Walnut Street and Pitt Students preparing to cheer on the Panthers against Youngstown State. I ran along the outline of the Forbes Field wall. I saw charity walkers near the Schenley Oval wraping up their event, and flowers in front of the Phipps Conservatory. My stomach grumbled as I passed the line of diners waiting for pancakes at Pamela's and explored the trails of Frick Park. At the end of 3 hours and 20 minutes, I pronounced myself satisfied and the first of 3 20-mile runs complete. Just 49 days to go until the Harrisburg Marathon.

This week's running update:
  • Last week's training covered 42 miles in 6 workouts, including a 20 mile long run. Since the beginning of training, I've covered 491 miles in 101 workouts, an average of nearly 4.9 miles per workout.
  • This week's plan calls for 37 miles in 5 workouts with a long run of 13 miles.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Good Luck

Good luck to Rob at Unspace in tomorrow's Great Race. Rob has been a good friend to Sully's Stuff and a supporter of the Stride Against Stroke campaign. He's recently run into a little knee trouble, which will slow him down tomorrow, but here's hoping he runs a successful race -- and feels great on Tuesday.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bill Strickland: What One Man Can Do...

Pittsblog highlights a 1998 article on Bill Strickland and the Manchester Craftsman's Guild from Fast Company Magazine. For an updated view of MCG and Bill Strickland's mission, read this article in the September issue of Inc. Magazine that includes an audio presentation of Strickland's conference presentation.

Strickland, working with former e-bay's 1st employee Jeff Skoll's foundation is working to expand the work and mission of the MCG nationally. With centers already open in San Francisco and on the way in Detroit, the article emphasizes Strickland's his focus on empowerment and education, his love of beauty and how it shapes expectation, and his entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy. Indeed, the MCG started where many companies his basement.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

And what will you say when you get there?

Seth Godin is asking the question "How much would you pay to be on Oprah's TV show?" today. While the post itself is to think about the value of distributing content through on-line channels and the importance of making it as easy as possible to pay attention once they get there.

Many of the same people who would (and do) pay a lot of money to be on Oprah would squander the chance when they got there.

Once you "get on the Oprah show," you better have something to say once you get there. Everyone knows that Oprah gave away a lot of G6s, but that couldn't prevent sales of the Pontiac G6 from being 30% lower-than-expected. Without a story of its own, the G6 giveaway was about Oprah and not the car.

Eyes On A Comeback: Tedy Bruschi, Stroke Survivor

When the Patriots come to town to take on the Steelers on Sunday, no one is really sure whether we'll see the Steelers that ended the Patriots record winning streak or the ones that sent themselves to the showers in the AFC Championship game. Missing from the Patriots defense will be #54 Tedy Bruschi who is sitting out the 2005 season while recovering from a stroke suffered shortly after playing in his first ever Pro Bowl earlier this year.

Earlier this month Bruschi was interviewed about his stroke and rehabilitation by Jackie MacMullan of the Boston Globe(free registration). In the interview, he describes his experience:
"...Honestly, early on I thought I was done. I can't see, I can barely walk. So I'm listening to my body and it's telling me, "Tedy, you can't do this." But now time has passed, and my body is saying, "Tedy, you've got a shot."

He has set his goal: to return to the Patriots lineup for the 2006 season, and to do that he is bring the same passion to his rehabilitation that he brings to the football field:

"I'm definitely playing next year. That's my ace in the hole."

Article: "Bruschi Plans To Play Next Year", September 2, 2005, Jackie MacMullan, Boston Globe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

September 21, 2000

September 21, 2000 was one of those beautiful days that only seem to come consistently to Pittsburgh in September. Downtown at FreeMarkets, Mayor Tom Murphy participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to rename One Oliver Plaza "FreeMarkets Center" and the optimism of a company that hadn't quite realized that the bubble had burst and a city that thought it might just be the next silicon valley was in the air. You could still shop at the downtown Lazarus and the Fifth and Forbes development seemed inevitable and around the corner, whether you wanted it or not. The building landlord was on hand to give tours to potential tenants, showing off the views of PNC Park rising across the street to potential tenants that might want to be associated with Pittsburgh's most notable ".com" success stories -- whether you understood what they did or not.

Most people don't have a specific memory of September 21, 2000 like that, but I do. As I returned to my desk on the 22nd floor, (FreeMarkets Center EST. 2000 t-shirt in hand), my cell phone rang. It was GSully to say that Russell was definitely on the way. My friend Matt immediately drove me home, and from there we went to Allegheny General where the Midwife Center was then located. Six hours later my son Russell was born. September 21, 2000 was the day I became a dad.

Even though 5 years is a pretty short time, many of the hopes and dreams that seemed so promising on September 21, 2000 have been dashed. The empty shell of Lazarus sits quietly at 5th and Wood. Fifth and Forbes never happened. The Midwife Center went on a journey that finally led them to their own birth center in the Strip District. FreeMarkets Center became One Oliver Plaza again when FreeMarkets was purchased by Ariba in 2004. Although, I can now take Russell to PNC Park, the Pirates lose more often than not and Pittsburgh is literally bankrupt and feeling down on its luck.

Today, September 21, 2005, Russell is 5 and as we sat Monday night watching the game, I could not believe how lucky I was to be there enjoying time with the one of the greatest gifts that life has given me and my hopes and dreams shining brightly ahead.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

10 Things About The Jolly Roger's Triumph Over Rocket Roger

In a mild surprise Russell and I saw the Jolly Roger triumph over the Rocket Roger. Of course Rocket loses about 1/3 of the time and the Pirates win about 40%+, but with the Astros in the thick of the wildcard race, it just didn't feel that likely. Here are 10 things about our trip you should know:

  1. Jews for Jesus handed us a pamphlet of Pirate trivia before the game (I'm not making that up). The official give away was a Ralph Kiner All-Start Commemorative Card.
  2. We ate Cracker Jacks and Cotton Candy and drank Sprite.
  3. Similar to watching Mark McGwire take batting practice, fans lined up 6-deep behind the centerfield bullpen to warmup before the game.
  4. Sauerkraut Saul won the pierogie race.
  5. The close captioning below the scoreboard plays the words to O Fortuna during the opening ship-battle animated sequence. The lyrics are in Latin. Which means they should really add an additional scoreboard for the translation. (If you're that interested both can be found here. They actually fit the fortunes of the buckless Bucs quite well.)
  6. Pirate fans gave Rocket Roger a standing O after he was yanked after giving up 4 runs in the 6th. I'm sure it was probably one of the least appreciated standing ovations of his career. Most of the fans stayed politely until the conclusion of the bottom of the 6th and then followed Roger to the showers.
  7. After the 7th inning stretch we moved from Section 307 Row C to right behind the center of the Pirates dugout. The Pittsburgh Baseball Club seats across the aisle and 5 feet below 307 are not $38 better than 307. The Dugout box seats are $26 better.
  8. Dugout box seats are really far from the bathroom though. This is important if you have kids or drink.
  9. The Pirates may have won because 2 nuns in habits were seated in the Homeplate Club in the front row.
  10. At 13,000 plus the attendance for the game was only about 42,000 less than the last time Russ and I saw Clemens pitch in person.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rocket Roger Vs. Jolly Roger

Tonight Roger Clemens pitches in Pittsburgh for the first time in a match up between Rocket Roger and The Jolly Roger.

Rocket Roger is 340-171 with a career 3.12 ERA, a .665 winning percentage. This season he's 12-7 with a 1.77 ERA.

Since 1984 (Rocket Roger's 1st season), the Jolly Roger is 1,620-1,859, a .466 winning percentage. This season, they're 61-88 with a team ERA of 4.47.

With the Astros having a 1.5 game lead in the wild-card and the Jolly Roger being 1 win away from elimination from the 100 loss season derby, the stakes will be high -- high enough for Rocket Roger to make the trip to Pittsburgh for the 1st time in 2 years. Pittsburgh is the last team Roger Clemens has faced on the road in his career.

This is the 1st September baseball game I've been excited for since the Yankees started winning again in 1995. My son and I were at Yankee Stadium when Clemens won 300 at Yankee Stadium and we'll be there tonight, Section 307, Row C, seats 10-11.

Running Update: In the middle of the longest stretch

With slightly less than 8 weeks to go until the race on November 13, this morning finds me in the middle of the longest, most intense stretch of training. Beginning last Tuesday with 6 miles it includes runs on 11 of 12 days, and the 1st 10. After the one day of rest coming up on Friday, the strecth concludes with the first of three pre-marathon 20 mile runs scheduled for Saturday. This stretch will cover 73 total miles including 42 this week.
  • Last week's mileage: 31 miles, including a 12 mile long run. Since the beginning of training, I've logged 449 miles in 95 workouts, 4.7 miles per workout.
  • This week's scheduled mileage:42 miles including a 20 mile long run.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Stroke & Aphasia: Loss of Communication

The loss of the ability to communicate is one of the most difficult effects that stroke has on both victims and family caregivers. provides some insight into the different types of aphasia and tips for caregivers.

Aphasia takes many forms. My grandfather suffered from a form of "it's on the tip of my tongue" aphasia. He understood you. He understood what he wanted to say. What he couldn't do was think of the words.

In other cases, patients feel as if others are speaking a foreign language. While patients cognitive skills are intact, they have lost the meanings of symbols. These must be re-learned in order for the patient to communicate.

From our experience I can tell you that aphasia can be even more frustrating than physical disabilities. If you are unable to walk, you can likely use a wheel chair. If you are unable to communicate you lose the power to tell people what you want and need and how you feel. Family member are left to make assumptions, sometimes wrong ones about what is needed. provides these "13 Strategies to help family members cope."

    1. Join A Self-Help Group. There are support groups you can attend locally and ones that are on the internet. [More info on support groups]
    2. Make the survivor feel like a contributing member of the family by involving them in family decisions and in their own recovery. (Survivors can work on rehabilitation independently with aphasia software)
    3. Give the person time to talk. Don't speak for him/her.
    4. Help them understand you, by speaking more slowly and speaking in short, clear sentences.
    5. Use gestures (e.g., pantomime) to help the person with aphasia understand you.
    6. Communicate through touch.
    7. Sympathize with the frustration your loved one feels at not being able to communicate effectively. Just knowing that you know how they feel helps a lot.
    8. You may need to assume more responsibility for starting a conversation and keeping it going. If a misunderstanding occurs, paraphrase or repeat more simply. A speech-language pathologist can show you ways to help with newly learned communication strategies. If an alternative form of communication is recommended, such as a communication board, you should be directly involved in the planning process.
    9. Take an active role in therapy. You can also help to provide therapy at home. [Help for therapy at home]
    10. The caregiver must care for themselves as well. You won't be able to provide care if you're exhausted and burned-out -- get enough sleep and keep up your relationships with friends and relatives..
    11. Keep up with leisure activities. Consider this necessary rather than selfish.
    12. Avoid making other major life changes, like moving, at this time.
    13. They may fear failure. This can cause them to avoid social interactions. Group therapy (with other aphasics) or online support groups can provide a safe nvironment in which to gain confidence. Software-based therapy can provide an opportunity to fail without any embarrassment. (Only the computer knows if he/she makes a mistake. )

Friday, September 16, 2005

An Australian Stroke Survivor Story

Roger Napthine of Geelong, a small city just west of Melbourne, Australia is featured in an article by Nicole Mayne in today's "Geelong Advertiser." Roger, 56 has been rcovering from a stroke he suffered 1 year ago that made him unable to walk or stand up.

After spending 4 months hospitalised, Roger continues his rehabilitation and has returned to work as a nurse educator for Barwon Health. Roger's advice: "You have to strike a balance on the one hand of not giving up and on the other hand of not being so ambitious that you are a danger to yourself or others."

Next week is National Stroke Week in Australia.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

When 0% Is Not Free Money

Out of the envelope I pulled this astounding piece of junk mail yesterday.
"0% Fixed"
NOT an introductory rate!

The credit card offer inside was far from free -- in fact in some cases it is a perversely bad deal. Thankfully, they included enough information for me to figure this out.

First, don't confuse no interest with no finance charge. Instead of an interest rate, this Platinum Mastercard From Capital One charges a fixed finance charge of $6 per $1,000 financed. This is $48 a year or 4.8% interest. Not zero, but still not bad, right? It gets worse.

Your finance charge is actually based on a step function. You pay $6/month for any balance between $200.01 and $1,000. At $200.01 your interest rate is a whoping 24%! Carry a balance of $1,000.01 and your finance charge doubles to $12 and you interest rate goes to 14.4% on essentially the same $1,000.

Why are they doing this? Well, in the letter to GSully from Pat W. Johnston, Director of New Accounts, (funny how you can't tell if the letter is from a man or a woman or even a real person) Pat says (s)he(it) thought we might be "tired of confusing interest rates and mysterious fees that come with most credit cards." Except I couldn't help but be confused that despite there not being any interest I would still be paying a boat load of interest. Once I got that through my thick skull, I decided that I would much rather be confused by all those interest rates and fees.

Thankfully, in the P.S. to the letter, Pat says that "Since the Platinum Card from Capital One is so unique (or do they mean such a bad idea), [they] are happy to answer you questions. Just call Capital One at 1-866-346-7128.

Unfortunately, I can't find any information on the Capital One website (it must be a secret product for "special" customers), so I took some pictures of the offer.

Transformation of "Stink Creek" - Nine Mile Run

"One of America's Great Newspapers" has an article on the completion of the 1st phase of the Nine Mile Run restoration project. Frick Park is really the home course for my running, the trails and playgrounds are our family's backyard, and of course its trails make up a lot of the course and the finish-line for the Run Around The Square. There has been a lot going on in the park over the last 3 years, and a few dicey moments when funding was in doubt, but the "restored" areas are beautiful.

Today's article does not appear to have made it on-line yet, but you can follow this link to read Marylynne Pitz's 9/27/2001 article describing the project in it's beginning stages.

Here is a link to the Nine Mile Run project's website.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Survivor Survivor Story: Cleo Hutton

In 1992, at the age of 43, Cleo Hutton suffered a stroke that left her physically unable to walk or speak, without the full use of her left arm. Mentally, she had difficulty understanding some writing and speech and to this day has difficulty with numbers.

After slowly regaining the ability to walk and speak, she decided to pursue a degree in English, which she earned in 1999. Today, she is a speaker and the author of 2 books "Striking Back At Stoke: A Doctor Patient Journal," co-authored with Harvard University's Dr. Louis Caplan and "After A Stroke: 300 Tips For Making Life Easier" published in June of this year.

The book includes practical tips that aid recovery -- like using putty and strength bands to improve hand and arm strength. Practical instructions for coping with physical impairments such as this tip on how to mail a letter bring home the difficulty in relearning and learning to do differently everyday tasks:
"To mail a letter in a mailbox, put the letter on top of the mailbox, or if the weather is bad, hold the letter between you pursed lips or under your unaffected arm while you open the mailbox. Place you unaffected elbow on the lid to hold it down, and use your unaffected hand to grab the letter and drop it inside the box. Move your unaffected elbow out of the lid by moving your arm down to catch the lid with your hand and fingers. Use your fingers to let go of the mailbox lid. Another way is to quickly pull your elbow up out of the way of the lid."
Cleo Hutton's story is featured in today's Dultuh News Tribune.

"After A Stroke: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier" can be purchased from

An excerpt from the book can be downloaded from Demos Medical Publishing.

Now with trackback...

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Wikipedia defines trackback as "a mechanism used in a blog that shows a list of entries in other blogs that refer to a post on the first blog."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Kids and Stroke...

Strokes are not an exclusively adult affliction. According to the Children's Hemoplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA) children are at risk of stroke throughout their childhood.

Arterial ischemic stroke is recognized around the time of birth in 1 in 4,000 full-term infants. Strokes that occur during the gestational period or in the month following birth are refred to as in-utero, fetal or prenatal strokes, and occur at a rate similar to that experienced by elderly Americans.

Strokes in older children are less common. Up to nearly 8 per 100,000 children (aged 1 mo. to 18 yrs), will have an occurance of ischemic stroke. As many as 5 per 100,000 children may suffer hemorrhagic stroke.

Pediatric stroke can be especially tragic and debillitating, possibly leading to cerebral palsy, epiliepsy, language problems and hyperactivity.

CHASAs website has a comprehensive set of links with facts about pediatric stroke, including information on research, treatment and support groups for pediatric stroke victims and their families.

Monday, September 12, 2005

When Free Equals $2.6 billion

What is the value of something that is primarily free? Some say that people do not value things that are free, either taking them for granted or treating them with skepticism about what "offer" lurks around the corner. Seth Godin has noted that free ebooks such as his twin web tomes "Knock Knock" and "Who's There" spread 40 times faster than ebooks that cost money.

Today, Skype, the (primarily) free computer-to-computer telephone service that has been downloaded more than 164 million times for free, announced that it will be purchased by ebay for $2.6 billion.

Skype provides free software. Skype has done little but word-of-mouth marketing, that is its users have done it for free. Skype has only small revenue streams from additional services layered on top of its core free service. Skype has been purchased for $2.6 billion, or $15.85 for every person in the world that has already downloaded it.

Do you think the founders of Skype feel like they made the right decision to give it away?

Running Update: A Three Hour Tour, A Three Hour Tour

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip
that started from Macon Avenue
aboard size 14 feet

I was a mighty running man
My steps were strong and sure
Eighteen miles was my goal Sunday
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

--In memory of Gilligan, Bob Denver who passed away last week at the age 70.

Sunday morning, under bright sunny skies, armed with water, lemonade gatorade and orenage creamscicle gu, I hit the pavement for an 18 mile tour of Pittsburgh/long run. Heading up Murray Avenue, I passed a long line of diners waiting for pancakes at Pamela's. Down through Panther Hollow to the Jail Trail I swam upstream against the Duquesne University track team. Coming into downtown, I ran among black and gold clad tailgaters turned out for the first regular season Steeler Sunday of the year. Around the fountain and up (I do mean up -- all the way up hill)Fifth Avenue, I saw Pitt's campus awakening to it slow Sunday pace. Wilkins, Dallas, Forbes, I finally found Shady refuge and then end of the line in the trails of Frick Park -- fully spent, fully satisfied, on target.

The numbers:
  • Last week's mileage, including the 18 mile long-run was 34 miles, 17% more than the previous week. Total mileage since April 24, is 417.8 miles, in 90 workouts, an average of 4.6 miles per workout.
  • Planned mileage for the coming week: 31 miles.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wanted: Manager, Pittsburgh Native, Major League Experience A Plus..

We have a lot of talented people in Pittsburgh. In certain fields, more than our fair share. I don't think major league baseball managers is one of them. Cardiologists, yes. Information security specialists, yes. Lawyers, probably. Meteoroligists, every TV station has 5. Quarterbacks, I'll give it to you. Baseball managers? I'm not buying it.

After Lloyd McClendon's ( link while it lasts) firing this week as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, speculation turned quickly to the identity of his replacement. Discussion did not focus on who the best available managers might be, but did focus pretty quickly on 1 pretty nichey category right away: experienced major league managers with roots or off season residences in Pittsburgh. Discounting Mt. Lebanon's Jim Leyland, our provincial lasers focused quickly on Shaler's Art Howe and Murrysville's Ken Macha, the current Manager of the Oakland A's.

I don't know if this is caused by a warped sort of civic pride, a desire to repatriate 'Burghers who have seen their greatest success elsewhere; or an internal concession that the Pirates are so hopeless that only somebody who grew up here and has some sentimental attachment would take the job.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

TIAs -- Mini-Strokes

The Post-Gazette picks up January Payne's Washington Post article and interview with Chelsea Kidwell, medical director of the Stroke Center at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.. on transient ischemic attacks, "TIAs." TIAs occur when temporary bloodflow blockages occur in the brain causing temporary stroke symptoms such as inability to speak, confusion, or experiencing difficulty seeing. The primary difference between a TIA and a full-blown ischemic stroke is that symptoms experienced during a TIA may be less extreme and are temporary, lasting less than 24 hours.

The article includes a diagram illustrating both the cause and impact of TIAs and full strokes on the brain.

According to the article, Coretta Scott King experienced 2 TIAs prior to her August 16th stroke, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also recently experienced a mini-stroke. Recently, British researchers have found the liklihood of a stroke within 7 days of a TIA "highly predictable."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

10 Weeks and Counting - Stride Against Stroke Running Update

Sunday marked 10 weeks to go until the Harrisburg Marathon and the end of a busy and important week for the Stride Against Stroke campaign.

There are times you run because you really want to run...that day, that time, that moment, because if you don't run you feel like you will explode. Then there are times you run because of all that you have invested; the hours putting one foot in front of the other and because you know that if you don't you'll be unprepared for the runs you have left in front of you.

This weekend I was definately in the second group. Beautiful weather, an easily acheivable distance, and a long holiday weekend had me in the "I could really just take the weekend off camp." But I ran and ran well -- 12 miles on Saturday traversing 3 laps through Frick park - down one side of the ravine and up the other, 4 more on Sunday in a single lap.

Last week was an important week for this Stride Against Stroke Campaign. This weeks update:
  • This week's total mileage was 29 miles, including a 12 mile long-run. This is 6.5% fewer miles than the previous week. Since training began in April, I have completed nearly 384 miles on the road in 85 workouts, an average of more than 4.5 miles per workout.
  • Planned mileage for this week is 34, including an 18 mile long run.
  • Our first donations for the Stride Against Stroke Campaign were received last week.
  • We finalized a corporate matching agreement with Ariba, who will match 50% of the gifts of all Ariba employees up to $1,000.
  • We receives our Business Reply Envelopes and t-shirts from Gaylord hospital.
  • At the same time, we relaxed a bit in our pursuit of donations because of the efforts around Hurricane Katrina.

Thank you to everyone who has provided donations and encouragement!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Why you don't want to stand next to me after a long run...

Gsully sent me this link from to explain that delicious odor that eminated from my running clothes at the end of a long run. I will let you read the article yourself to learn why bacteria love eccrine and apocrine sweat as well sebum, and why that lovely smell is sometimes difficult to get out of petrochemical based performance fabrics.

There is hope on the horizon though...Brooks Running's HVAC material combines petrochemical based fabrics with silver. The silver ions kill bacteria, essentially electrocuting them. After seeing the $98 price tag, gsully concluded that the stink didn't bother her that much.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Time for a break...

The last long weekend of the summer begins now. We've got big plans for the final First Friday of the summer at the Frick, a ride on the Gateway Clipper, and of course running. The weather in Pittsburgh is beautiful, with sunshine and warm temperatures. It will be the perfect time to enjoy ourselves with family and friends and be thankful for our good fortune.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Running! You should be lifting weights

From the pages of the September 2005 issue of Men's Health Best Life Magazine, "You, But Stronger" by Adam Campbell:

"Lifting is good for the gray matter. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that men who performed three total-body weight workouts per week for 2 months lowered their blood-pressure readings by an average of 8 points. That's enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40 percent."